‘Ex Machina’ Teaser Trailer

Alex Garland‘s (the writer of Sunshine, 28 Days Later, The Beach, etc) directoral debut, Ex Machina, looks at least superficially like it covers similar territory as Transcendence, though hopefully more successfully.

That being said, I assume it’s only coincidence that Ex Machina feels very similar to another film that came out earlier this year, The Machine, the trailer which I have included below.

Though considering that the trailer looks to have more than a little bit psycho-sexual game playing going on, perhaps a more apt comparison would be to Vincenzo Natali’s Splice (which, since Halloween is just around the corner, is worth a watch).

The Avengers: Age Of Ultron Trailer – Marvel’s Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. Edition

Kevin Feige, you cheeky bastard.  It appears that you pulled a fast one.  When the trailer for The Avengers: Age Of Ultron was leaked prior to it appearing on Marvel’s Agent’s Of S.H.I.E.L.D. I assumed that that was the end of this story.  Sure, Marvel Studios handed things pretty gracefully, but I thought it was time to move on.

How wrong I was.

The trailer that was released during S.H.I.E.L.D. is quite similar to the leaked trailer, but not the same, and as anyone knows, the Devil is in the details.  The fist, and most noticeable difference is that there’s an extended party scene (which the first trailer only touches upon), where Tony Stark (Robert Downey, Jr) and Jim Rhodes (Don Cheadle) attempt to lift Thor’s hammer.Tony and Rhody Attempt to lift Thor's hammer

Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson) doesn’t bother, because she knows that boys will be boys.

Though things get interesting with Steve Rogers (Chris Evans), otherwise known as Captain America, tries.

Thor's expression

Thor (Chris Hemsworth) appears mildly concerned, especially since he knows that one has to be deemed worthy by the magics that permeate the hammer to lift it, and who’s worthier than Captain America?

From that point on, the trailer mostly follows similar beats as the first one, though there are small differences.

Such as the image below of Black Widow staring at something…

Black Widow staring

Which was followed by this image of the Chituari scepter from 2013’s The Avengers (and what we learn give the Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver their abilities from Captain America: The Winter Soldier.

Ctharia weaponCombined with earlier scenes of Captian America breaking into a castle, I believe that they show his his search for the origins of Winter Soldier, and that he finds the hideout of Baron von Strucker (Thomas Kretschmann).

Though there’s an image that appears in both versions that I am very curious about, which is of an attractively-lit room that’s serving as a ballet studio, though why is it in the trailer?  Did Joss Whedon (who may not have cut it) want to add a scene of beauty to contrast all the larger-than-life heroics that proceeded it?

Ballet Dancers

Maybe, but I doubt it because it’s too obvious.  I suspect that the dancers may have something to do with the Scarlet Witch, if only because it’s not exactly the style of Black Widow or Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders).

‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ Official Re-release Trailer

The original 2001: A Space Odyssey trailer

I am sure that you have known a person that was not nearly as clever as they thought they were.  Such people tend to be a tad insufferable because they’re so convinced of the righteousness of whatever flag they happen to be flying that they don’t appear even cognizant that there is another side of a particular issue.

Well, 2001: A Space Odyssey is the movie version of that person.  It’s clearly a brilliant movie, with great model work by Brian Johnson (Alien, Space: 1999, etc) and showcases Stanley Kubrick at the height of his powers.  That being said, it’s not nearly as brilliant as it thinks it is, on top of being so demanding–and giving so little in return–that as a result it’s one of the most boring movies that I recall seeing.

A new trailer was commissioned by the BFI (British Film Institute) and Warner Bros. in celebration of a digitally restored release of Kubrick’s seminal sci-fi movie.  It’s a good trailer, but does little to add a pulse to what is a particularly cold movie.

The re-release 2001: A Space Odyssey trailer

‘Top Five’ Trailer

Chris Rock’s Top Five was huge at the Toronto Film Festival, sparking a bidding war among studios like Lionsgate, CBS Films and Relativity, with Paramount coming out as the eventual victor.  Having seen the trailer, it looks interesting, but I am not quite what the supposedly frantic bidding was about.

Ewan McGregor As Doctor Strange? Not Buying It

Doctor Strange  Sorceror SupremeEvery since Joaquin Phoenix decided to pass of the role of Marvel Studios’ Master of the Mystic Arts, Doctor Strange, all sorts of names are being bandied about, such as Ethan Hawke and Keanu Reeves.

The latest is Ewan McGregor, and I think it’s unlikely (Ethan Hawke would be my choice, and it helps that he’s worked with the director, Scott Derrickson before in Sinister–that being said he also worked with Reeves in the remake of The Day The Earth Stood Still) because McGregor may be up for another Star Wars film, though without knowing the timeline or even if it’s something he’s interested in or was even if it was offered to him, it’s hard to say.

That being said, I hope an American actor plays Strange (which isn’t to imply that it’s in any way unusual that a very American character isn’t played by one, like in the case of  Thor (Chris Hemsworth’s, who’s Australian, though his accent worked really well), Loki (Tom Hiddleston, British, and for similar reasons) and Spider-Man (Andrew Garfield, also British).

 

‘Wolves’ Red Band Trailer

What it is about werewolf movies?  For every The HowlingAn American Werewolf In London or Dog Soldiers, you get twelve Skin Walkers and lots of crummy Howling sequels.

I don’t know know in which column David Hayter’s Wolves falls, but if the trailer is any indicator, lycantrophy is being used as a thinly-veiled allegory for a young man’s transition into adulthood.

And there’s nothing wrong with that, though it’s not exactly an uncommon theme as far as horror movies go.  That being said, plot and storyline are important, but a great looking werewolf transformation goes a long way toward, if not curing all ills at least making you forget about them for a little while.

‘Pride’ Review

Pride movie poster

“”Pride” Is A Prime Example Of Why The MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America) Has Outgrew Its Usefulness.”

It’s normal, as humans, to try to define the world around us in as concise a manner as possible.  And it makes sense because when we were evolving as a species there were probably many instances where there just wasn’t time to go into a 50-word description about how that other tribe of proto-humans from the far side of the mountain were somehow different than we were.

That being said, a problem simplification brings is that it sacrifices nuance at the altar of  efficiency, often doing a disservice to whatever it is that that’s being described.  I mention this because Matthew Warchus’ Pride will probably be labeled as a gay movie–and while that’s not exactly inaccurate–it doesn’t tell the whole story, because in many ways the movie is about all of us, no matter how we define ourselves sexually.

It revolves around a gay rights organization headed by Mark (Ben Schnetzer) who decides to raise funds to support striking coalminers in Wales.  Both groups are vilified, and despite the miners virtually starving they were at first reluctant to accept support from a group that was openly gay.

So there’s the conflict between those that hold more traditional beliefs, versus those that were more progressive though what the movie didn’t spend nearly enough time exploring the fact that events were unfolding just when AIDS was just beginning to cut a devastating swath through the Gay community; yet Mark’s organization still chose to assist the mineworkers.

It may not have been as clear-cut as that, but the movie does create that impression.

Pride is also very monochromatic, though it’s hard to tell if that’s an accurate reflection of the history, or just the tendency of filmmakers to exclude people of color.  That being said, some do appear in crowd, club and parade scenes, and that’s about it.

Overall, Pride is an entertaining, and at times inspirational, movie that should be seen by as many people as possible because it’s less about sexuality than being true to yourself and people helping people, very often those on the face of it you hold nothing in common, other than a shared humanity.

And if that’s not something to be celebrated, then nothing is.

By the way, I just learned that Pride is rated R, which leaves me a bit baffled.   It’s a relatively tame movie–and while I wouldn’t go as far as saying that it’s been “Disneyfied“–there’s cursing, and suggestions of some Gay subcultures–there’s nothing that would offend anyone that’s the least bit respectful of the right of other people to live as they choose.

I also may be ranting a bit here, but Pride is based on the lives of real people, so why it is IMDB and CBS Films (one of the companies that produced the film) failed to include the last names of the characters is a bit beyond understanding.